Thursday, May 5, 2011

911, What is Your Emergency?

It was supposed to be a good relaxing day.  In a way it was.  At least at first.  I taught what might best be described as some of the more vocational classes today.  The part that rather pushed past my comfort zone was moving the class to a greenhouse where an annual plant sale was progressing.  My class was full of students that in other classes I have seen them in they were less than interested in school work.  Imagine my consternation in supposedly being responsible for a bunch of seeming ne'er-do-wells out in the wild...Lucky me.

To top it off the last minute assignment for those IN the classroom (we were staying in for a couple periods) was basically ignored.  The students instead preferred to talk and generally be unproductive.  My attempts to make them work were half-hearted, since they know what they need to do to graduate and only become surly when you remind them too many times.  I don't mind.  I can get along with that, but I still prefer to be able to follow the teacher's instructions and have it come out.  I think I got five finished assignments for the whole day.  I explained that in my notes to the teacher.

So, I had managed to convince myself I could deal with this day, when I was informed that there would be a need for me to teach during my plan...which happened to be the last period of the day.  I had envisioned sneaking out before the buses clogged the streets.  Alas, it was not to be.

Fine.  What class?  Surely a History or English class, right?  Perhaps a PE class.  What?  OH.  oh.  It's math.  Algebra to be exact...have I mentioned Math is not my...forte?  Once I get into Algebra I am treading on very thin ice.  I gave up on math in the 10th grade, and given my present usage  and need of math, that seems just fine.  I can't even remember the difference between an integer and ...well, what the hell is an integer and why should I care? (No, please don't tell me, I don't want to know.  It will only reinforce my dislike for the subject and cement my knowledge that I am a dunce.  NO NEED FOR THAT!)  I haven't had to figure that out since I was IN an Algebra class decades, YES! DECADES ago.

So, I get the plans for this last period of the day.  It looks to me like the guy must have been part romance novel writer and part mad scientist and part wishful thinker.  He was probably a good teacher, he just could not make good sub plans.  Most teachers assume they are getting an idiot for a sub and plan accordingly, which is fine.  I like to surprise them when I can, but it's nice, if I have not brushed up on my Shakespeare, to have some cheats.  This fellow assumed I was a math major I think.  I decided to hurtle that turtle when I got to the pond.

Lunch time finally rolled around.  I heated up my nachos and got set to call Cora to see how Chloe's Dr. Apt went.  I dialed to get out and then began dialing her number, but I focused on spreading sour cream on my nachos and did not pay strict attention to the phone other than to note the numbers I was dialing.  It rings and I hear a voice.  Only it isn't Cora.  The voice says, "911, what's your emergency?"  To say I was not expecting that is an understatement and I stuttered and sputtered.  I managed to say, "Uhhh, I don't have an emergency.  I didn't dial 911."  I apologized and looked at the phone.  I had indeed dialed 911, but when I thought of the number I'd intended to dial I realized it DID have the numbers 9, 1, and 1 in it, just with other numbers in between.  Somehow some numbers had been dropped or not registered.  Yea me.  "Then I said, yes, I did, but I didn't mean to."  The operator said it was all right and that it happens sometimes, and she told me to have a good day.

I proceeded to dial, very carefully, Cora's number and was talking to her when a pair of administrators rushed into the room looking very winded and distressed.  I explained the mishap and my idiocy when the Principal rang in.  I decided to just scrap the call with Cora and explained my situation, idiocy, and misfortune to three more people.  It seems that whenever 911 is dialed in the school all administrators are emailed and they either descend on that room or call...I got to meet all the administrators and admit that I am an idiot.  WOW!  I feel so...special.  Couldn't have been because I reached a bunch of children with a particular touching lecture on the hazards of driving without a seatbelt...Oh, well, lose some-lose some.

I finally recovered from that in time to take care of my last class who were again in the greenhouse...I stood looking like a sore thumb, with nothing in particular to do but stay out of the way yet visible.  Finally the bell rang and I trotted off to the math class.

These students were, if possible, less interested in learning than my other classes.  Did I get very far?  Nope.  Was it because I kept having to go over the material to learn it for myself?  Partially.  Was it a flop for a class?  Yes.  The students weren't upset, though, because I felt I had not displayed or explained the key principals of the math lesson well enough for them to finish the assignment on their own, I did not assign them the work.  Did that suck?  Yes.  Did I feel exceptionally proud of myself?  Nope.

All I could think on my way out to the truck was, "I'm glad this day is over."

So, if you were planning on sending me the Awesome Teacher Award of the Year, well, you had best start looking elsewhere.  I am so glad I have kinders tomorrow!

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